In 1989, Sharper Image began selling a mannequin named Gregory who could supposedly deter crime via “his strong, masculine appearance.”
He weighed 11 pounds, had no lower legs, and cost $499 with clothes ($449 without).
“Gregory’s stern appearance is no accident. His rugged cleft chin, square-set jaw, firm expression and broad shoulders telegraph to criminals that this is a man to avoid.”
The company primarily marketed Gregory to women who had to drive home alone at night. “He provides the appearance of a strong male in the car next to the female driver.”
I was curious why the name Gregory was chosen — if it sounded particularly “strong” or “rugged” to the marketers — but I was overlooking the simplest explanation: definition. They chose Gregory because it comes from the Greek word gregoros, meaning “watchful.”
Except, of course, Gregory isn’t watchful at all. He’s a dummy who just sits there. Making “Gregory” quite a misnomer, actually.
(And not only is Greg not watchful, but he “would be virtually useless in a real confrontation,” as one police officer put it.)
So let’s pretend you could go back in time 25 years and become part of Sharper Image’s mannequin marketing team. Now you’re in charge of choosing an appropriate name for the crime-deterring man-doll. What name do you pick, and why?